Stephen Furst

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Stephen Furst
Stephen Furst, July, 2014.jpg
Furst in 2014
Stephen Nelson Feuerstein

(1954-05-08)May 8, 1954
DiedJune 16, 2017(2017-06-16) (aged 63)
Alma materVirginia Commonwealth University
Years active1973–2016
Known for
Lorraine Wright
(m. 1976)

Stephen Furst (born Stephen Nelson Feuerstein; May 8, 1954 – June 16, 2017) was an American actor. After gaining attention with his featured role as Kent "Flounder" Dorfman in the comedy film National Lampoon's Animal House and its spin-off television series Delta House,[1] he went on to be a regular as Dr. Elliot Axelrod in the medical drama series St. Elsewhere from 1983 to 1988, and as Centauri diplomatic attaché Vir Cotto in the science fiction series Babylon 5 from 1994 to 1998. Other notable film roles included the college comedy Midnight Madness (1980), as a team leader in an all-night mystery game, the action thriller Silent Rage (1982), as deputy to a sheriff played by Chuck Norris, and the comedy The Dream Team (1989), as a good-natured psychiatric patient.

Early life[edit]

Born Stephen Nelson Feuerstein in Norfolk, Virginia, on May 8, 1954,[2] Furst attended Virginia Commonwealth University.[2]


As actor[edit]

Furst at the 2013 Phoenix Comicon

Furst worked as a pizza delivery driver while looking for acting jobs in the mid-1970s, and included his head shot in pizza boxes. After Matty Simmons saw his photo, Furst was cast as Kent "Flounder" Dorfman in National Lampoon's Animal House (1978),[3] reprising the role in the short-lived 1979 spin-off ABC sitcom Delta House, and repeating his famous line, "Oh boy, is this great!", as a school principal with a personality mirroring Flounder's in the music video for Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock."[4]

Other roles include "Junior" Keller (the unseen) in the 1980 horror movie The Unseen,[5] Gonzer in the 1984 feature film Up the Creek, Dr. Elliot Axelrod in the television series St. Elsewhere (1983–1988), and Vir Cotto in the science fiction television series Babylon 5 (1994–1998). Furst was amused by the report that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un modeled his haircut after Furst's character in Babylon 5.[6]

In 1979 he starred as an overweight high school tuba player coerced onto the wrestling team in Kieth Merrill's feel-good underdog film, Take Down. In 1980, he played the character of Harold in the movie, Midnight Madness.[7] Furst appeared in 1982 in an episode of Newhart called "Sprained Dreams" where he played a Dartmouth College student. In 1983, he also appeared in a supporting role as Aldo in the provocative ABC TV movie The Day After.[8] In 1989, he played the character of Albert Ianuzzi in the film The Dream Team.[9]

In 1983, Furst also appeared alongside Erik Estrada, Tom Reilly, and Heather O'Rourke in an episode of CHiPs titled "Fun House" as a student who belonged to the college fraternity "DDT."[10]

In the 1995 animated TV series Freakazoid!, he voiced the character Fanboy. Also in 1995, he took a hiatus from Babylon 5 to star in a short-lived TV series, Misery Loves Company. In 1997, he played Derby Ferris in Little Bigfoot 2: The Journey Home.[11] He also voiced a young Colonel Hathi in Season 2 of Disney's Jungle Cubs, had a starring voice role as Booster in the 2000 series Buzz Lightyear of Star Command[12] and its direct-to-video prequel Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins and also voiced a hulky walrus named Dash in the 2000 Disney movie The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea.[13] He starred in Magic Kid[14] and its sequel.[15]

In 2002, he guest starred in an episode of Scrubs.[16] In the same year, he was cast as Walter Nichols in the unaired pilot of the Nickelodeon television series Drake & Josh, but his identity was unknown in visuals, until his name was revealed in a YouTube video from 2017. He was replaced by Jonathan Goldstein prior to the series' debut, due to his unavailability for future episodes.

As director[edit]

Furst began directing with three episodes of Babylon 5; two in the fourth season and one in the fifth. Furst directed many independent and/or low-budget movies, including the 2001 film Title to Murder, starring Christopher Atkins and Maureen McCormick,[17] and the direct-to-video children's movie Baby Huey's Great Easter Adventure.[18] He also directed three low-budget movies for the Sci Fi Channel: Dragon Storm in 2004,[19] Path of Destruction in 2005, and Basilisk: The Serpent King in 2006; he also co-starred in the last two films.[20][21]

As producer[edit]

Furst produced My Sister's Keeper, based on the Jodi Picoult novel, starring Cameron Diaz and Alec Baldwin.[22] He produced other several films under his production company Curmudgeon Films.[23] Atomic Shark aired in August 2016 on Syfy, during "Sharknado Week". Christmas in Homestead premiered on the Hallmark Channel during the holiday season of 2016. Cold Moon, a psychological thriller based on the Michael McDowell book, is set for a theatrical release in October 2017 in the United States.[23] Cold Moon won "Best Horror Film" at the 2016 Laughlin Film Festival.[24]

2016 criticism of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences[edit]

Furst wrote a letter, later published in Variety, criticizing the Academy's portrayal of its own members as racist and resistant to diversity and suggested the Academy's response to the 2016 #OscarsSoWhite was ageist and sexist. He suggested that most members of the Academy do not watch the films nominated for awards, and that the Academy should start by ensuring those who vote have watched the films.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Furst was married to entertainment lawyer Lorraine Wright from 1976 until his death.[26] The couple had two sons, both of whom are in the entertainment business. His older son Nathan (born 1978) is a television and film composer, while his younger son Griff (born 1981) is an actor, director and musician.[26]

Both of Furst's parents died from complications of diabetes.[27] Shortly after his father's death, Furst, too, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at age 17.[28] He reached a weight of 320 pounds and had uncontrolled type 2 diabetes by the age of 40.[29] After almost needing to have his left foot amputated due to diabetes complications in 1996, Furst reduced his weight from 260 lbs to 175 lbs.[28]

Starting in June 2006, Furst co-hosted the Renal Support Network's webcast "KidneyTalk" with Lori Hartwell.[30] He became a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association and authored the book Confessions of a Couch Potato.[31] As a celebrity spokesperson for the American Heart Association, Furst said, "I thought I was more powerful than the disease of diabetes, but in reality, I was letting it take control of me. Now, I've decided to take control of my life."[32]


On June 16, 2017, Furst died from complications related to diabetes at his home in Moorpark, California, at the age of 63.[33]

Selected filmography[edit]

  • John Belushi: Dancing on the Edge (2010) – Himself


  1. ^ "Animal House Gallery". New York Daily News. June 25, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Stephen Furst, who played Flounder in the hit comedy 'Animal House,' dies at 63". The Washington Post. June 19, 2017. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  3. ^ Neumer, Chris (2003). "Animal House: The Movie that Changed Comedy". Stumped. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
  4. ^ "TWISTED SISTER's 'I Wanna Rock' Featured In WaMu Commercial; Video Available". BLABBERMOUTH.NET.
  5. ^ Mulay, James J. (1989). The Horror film: a guide to more than 700 films on videocassette. CineBooks. p. 245. ISBN 9780933997233.
  6. ^ "Kim Jong Un gets a Babylon 5 Centauri hair-do". Boing Boing. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  7. ^ Maltin, Leonard (1995). The Disney Films (3, illustrated, revised ed.). Disney Editions. p. 316. ISBN 9780786881376.
  8. ^ Parish, James Robert; Pitts, Michael R. (1990). The great science fiction pictures II, Volume 2 (2, illustrated ed.). Scarecrow Press. p. 102. ISBN 9780810822474.
  9. ^ Gritten, David, ed. (2008). The Movies That Matter: From Bogart to Bond and All the Latest Film Releases (24, illustrated, revised ed.). HarperCollins Publishers Limited. ISBN 9780007271061.
  10. ^ "CHiPs S6, E19 – Fun House". Goojara.
  11. ^ Grant, Edmond (1999). The Motion Picture Guide: 1999 Annual (The Films of 1998) (revised ed.). CineBooks. p. 236. ISBN 9780933997431.
  12. ^ a b Evans, Greg (June 17, 2017). "Stephen Furst Dies: 'Animal House', 'St. Elsewhere' Actor Was 63". Deadline. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  13. ^ Hischak, Thomas S.; Robinson, Mark A. (2009). The Disney Song Encyclopedia. Scarecrow Press. p. 202. ISBN 9780810869387.
  14. ^ Television Guide, Volume 42. Triangle Publications. 1994. p. 289.
  15. ^ Craddock, Jim (2004). VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever, Volume 2005. Visible Ink. p. 511. ISBN 9780787674700.
  16. ^ Rosen, Christopher (June 17, 2017). "Animal House star Stephen Furst dies at 63". Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  17. ^ "Title to Murder | 2001". HOLLYWOOD.COM.
  18. ^ Ellis, Ralph; Andone, Dakin (June 18, 2017). "Stephen Furst, actor who played Flounder in 'Animal House,' dies at 63". Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  19. ^ "Dragon Storm". Scifi-Movies.
  20. ^ Freer, Sloan. "Path of Destruction". RadioTimes.
  21. ^ "Basilisk: The Serpent King (2006)". The Bad Movie Marathon.
  22. ^ Pinkerton, Nick. "My Sister's Keeper (PG-13)". LA Weekly.
  23. ^ a b "Stephen Furst, actor who shone in Animal House, dies aged 63". The Guardian. Associated Press. June 18, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  24. ^ "2016 FILM SCHEDULE". Laughlin International Film Festival 2016.[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ Variety Staff (January 26, 2016). "'Animal House' Star Stephen Furst Protests Academy Rule Changes". Variety. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa "Stephen Furst". HOLLYWOOD.COM.
  27. ^ Russian, Ale (June 19, 2017). "Animal House's Stephen Furst: His Heartbreaking, Inspiring Battle with Diabetes Before Death at 63". People. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  28. ^ a b Wulff, Jennifer (June 4, 2001). "Fratboy Slim". People.
  29. ^ "Stephen Furst: Laughter Is the Best Medicine". Diabetic Living Online. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  30. ^ "Renal Support Network". Archived from the original on February 10, 2012.
  31. ^ Furst, Stephen (September 9, 2002). Confessions of a Couch Potato (1 ed.). Alexandria, Va.: American Diabetes Association. ISBN 9781580401449.
  32. ^ "'Animal House' Star Ignored Diabetes Alarms". Consumer HealthDay. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  33. ^ "Stephen Furst, Flounder in 'Animal House,' Dies at 63". The New York Times. Associated Press. June 17, 2017.
  34. ^ a b c d e Tyrkus, Michael J. (2000). Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television, Volume 28 (illustrated ed.). Gale. p. 122. ISBN 9780787631871.

External links[edit]